Mead making is not a hobby for the impatient.
You got that right. I just did a 2nd racking on another Mead tonight, which was originally brewed around Christmas... of 2004! Like the one I racked last week, I'm dosing it with Sparkalloid as it is still somewhat hazy. I will be sweetening this one a bit at bottling, as it is fairly dry (gravity is sitting right at 1.000). Aside from being a bit too dry, it seems to have mellowed out nicely (it was rather harsh at the first racking).
The one I dosed with Sparkalloid last week has already dropped crystal clear. The problem with Sparkalloid is it results in a rather fluffy sediment layer, which is difficult to rack off of without stirring some of it up. I may rack a 3rd time the night before bottling, and move the carboy to the counter where I'll be siphoning to the bottling bucket, just to give any "fluffies" that get sucked up a chance to settle again.
The trick to doing Mead is to have a few in the pipeline. Which reminds me, I should start another one now, so I'll have one that's ready to bottle sometime around the end of next year!
Cool logo BTW.
mattsteg wrote:One's half of a Northern Brewer ESB kit watered down a tad, the other's the other half of the kit augmented with a pound of Briess 2 row malt to convert it to partial-mash and bring the gravity back up to what the recipe specified. I do like that 3 gallon batches let me easily do a full wort boil on my stove and let me have a little more variety (and experiment more) without more volume than I need.
What are you doing your partial mash in, and what are you using for lautering? When I tried partial mashing, I used a nylon grain bag in my bottling bucket to lauter; that really sucked. The sheer suckiness of attempting to use half-a**sed equipment to do partial mashing convinced me to just get the proper equipment and go all-grain.
BuddhistFish wrote:I've got one more extract batch to do before I make the jump to all-grain. I've received approval for the purchase of a turkey fryer and I commandered our cooler for conversion to a mash-tun. My first all grain brew will be an IPA, followed shortly there after by a Scottish Wee Heavy.
Not wasting any time, eh? IIRC I was on something like batch 15 before I got brave enough to take the plunge into all-grain.
Welcome to the obsession!
mattsteg wrote:Heh, All grain might be feasible with the smaller batches, or it might be just too equipment-intensive for my available space. I'll have to work out a few recipes and see just what I'd need to make things work well. Right now I'm just kind of feeling out what my equipment and space can do.
Part of my original motivation for doing 3-gallon batches was the fact that it enabled me to do all-grain in the kitchen, using 5 gallon pots (we had a double-oven range, and the oven mounted above the stovetop precluded the use of anything bigger).
Even though I've got a turkey fryer now and can handle full-size all-grain batches easily, I still do a fair number of 3 gallon batches... either to play with new recipes, or to facilitate indoor brewing when the weather precludes brewing out on the patio. You really don't want to be brewing outdoors when it's 15 degrees and snowing!
FWIW a full-size all-grain batch is even manageable on the stovetop (barely), if you split the boil into two pots and use two burners.
My general modus operandi is:
- Mash on the stovetop, using one or two 5 gallon pots. A single 5 gallon pot can comfortably accommodate a mash for all but the highest gravity 3 gallon batches, and 5 gallon batches with starting gravities up to around 1.060 or so. During the mash rest(s) the pots are insulated by wrapping an old blanket around them to help maintain temperature.
- Lautering is accompished by transferring the mash to a large plastic bucket with a tubular stainless screen device in the bottom.
- Boiling is done either out on the patio in the turkey fryer, or on the kitchen stove in 5 gallon pot(s).
Some of my indoor brew days are "Double 3s" -- a pair of 3 gallon batches (2 different beers). I stagger the start times by an hour (give or take), so that equipment that I only have one of (lautering bucket, wort chiller) aren't needed by both batches at the same time. Double 3s keep me pretty busy though, since there's a lot going on at once -- I need to make sure I have all of my hop additions weighed out ahead of time in numbered plastic cups, so when the appropriate time comes I can just dump the contents of the next cup into whichever batch is currently boiling.
What size kettle you getting? I have one of the 8 gallon megapots from northern brewer and it's quite nice. 4 gallons in an 8 gallon pot really helps against boilover.
Yup... boilovers are bad news. Burnt wort is a real bitch to clean up!
Tip: If you brew on the kitchen stove, line the entire stovetop with heavy duty aluminum foil with holes cut in it for the burner elements. Cleanup of drips and minor boilovers is as simple as wadding the foil up and tossing it in the recycling bin.
Heh... seems like we've got the beginnings of an informal "TR homebrewers club" going here!